Stop CT DEEP Massive Tree Removal in the Housatonic Meadows Park

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Stop CT DEEP Massive Tree Removal in the Housatonic Meadows Park

This petition had 469 supporters
Heidi Cunnick started this petition to State and Local Officials

Dear neighbors,

The Connecticut DEEP is  racing  ahead with plans to cut down more than 120 trees at Housatonic Meadows State Park ( the park along route 7 just after the bridge across the Housatonic River in Cornwall Bridge).   Please read the thoughtful and compelling evaluation from noted arborist Michael Nadeau written in response to DEEPs plan, and consider signing this petition

On Nov 24, 2021, at 9:19 PM, men@michaelnadeau.org wrote:

I had an opportunity today to have a look at the tree removal and trees slated for removal at Housatonic Meadows.  I observed both with the eye of a 40-year CT Licensed Arborist (S-2878 - retired), and concerned citizen of Sharon, CT.  As a result, I have serious concerns about the decision making process that has allowed what looks like generally sound trees to be removed, with many more literally on the chopping block.  Large oak (Quercus spp) trees as well as other species have been removed along a steep riverbank.  The root systems from these trees is what was preventing the riverbank from eroding away.  This seems particularly short-sighted, especially in light of recent storm activity and scientific studies that show the species Quercus (Oak) is the single most valuable species for insect and bird habitat quality.  Other facts of benefit the oaks that were removed used to provide are cooling the water temperature of the Housatonic River – paramount to maintaining trout habitat, respiration of oxygen so we can breathe, carbon sequestration to help minimize global climate change, and transpiration of water vapor for natural air temperature moderation.  Underground, the roots of oak and many other trees are an essential participant in the function of the soil foodweb – a vast network of fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and others – that transport minerals, nutrients, and provide a “communication network” between trees, even plants of disparate species.  These are but a few benefits large oak trees can provide, if left to live out their lives.  I did a cursory examination of the boles and stumps of these removed oaks and found very few defects that might indicate a hazard tree.  One oak in particular had a section that fell toward the river and is now buggering erosion along the riverbank.  
 
The white pines (Pinus strobus) lining the access road leading to the boat launch that are marked for removal appear to be of normal health and vigor for their age.  White pine wood is brittle and there is evidence of storm damage to some of the limbs, but these trees definitely do not pose a hazard commensurate to removal.  A good deadwood removal program and heading back a few elongated branches would be a prudent measure to remove any inherent hazard and save the trees from destruction.  Many of the pines have co-dominant leaders caused by earlier damage from the feeding activity of the White Pine Weevil.  This is a normal condition of most white pines and affected trees live on to be venerable old giants with little or no help from mankind.  I observed three small (<10” cal.) white pines that are candidates for removal: two are being shaded out by adjacent deciduous trees and one is a standing dead snag.  Other than these three trees, I see no reason for the wholesale removal of the pines along the access road.  Another motivation to leave the pines intact is to prevent windthrow of adjacent trees.  These pines are growing in community, mutually benefiting from each other by buffering winds and providing physical support.  The shade and competition for sunlight and nutrients of this intact community is a natural check on exotic invasive plant incursion.  When trees are removed on the outskirts of a tree community, undesirable vegetation will exploit this new disturbance in the tree canopy and become established.  In the case of Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), a vining exotic invasive species, Without considerable efforts to prevent this, it wouldn’t be long before the pines that remain after the cut would be infested and eventually killed.  There is Oriental bittersweet adjacent to this area, waiting for an opportunity to spread.  
 
In closing, it is my hope that DEEP will cease tree removal activities until they can meet with our politicians and well-intentioned, educated and concerned citizens to work out a plausible alternative to the removal of older but still thriving trees and steer future practices toward preservation instead of destruction of our heritage trees that provide myriad ecosystem services for humankind as well as the rest of Nature.  To this end I am at your service.
 
Respectfully,

Michael E. Nadeau, Principal
Wholistic Land Care Consulting, LLC
Former CT Certified Arborist & Custom Grounds Supervisor
Appointed Member of the Sharon Energy and Environment Commission 
 
Despite this evaluation, DEEP is determined to cut down more than 120 trees in the park

By signing this petition you are supporting a request that the DEEP halt removal of trees until they have consulted with Michael Nadeau and concerned citizens to develop a forestry plan grounded in best practices that protects the well being of our residents and visitors, as well as our river and woods. 

Sincerely,

 

Concerned Cornwallians

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This petition had 469 supporters

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